|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Canda||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: EA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 7, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
There are many other noticeable in-game issues which reoccur from last year. Collision issues happen pretty frequently. I noticed instances where players will completely glide through each other or a ball will bounce through someones midsection. It seems some framerate issues have been improved from last year, such as the visually horrendous in-bounding glitch after a scored bucket as players shudder their way up court.
While they fixed that error, shuddering and skipping still occurs, making the game look unpolished and still in need of work. Youll notice some players stepping over the sideline with the ball and not getting called for it and other flaws that make EAs attempt at a basketball simulation far from realistic. Overall, observing a game with ten players moving around onscreen really isnt impressive as they habitually flicker about. It is especially disappointing to think that all these issues havent been worked out in the year EA has spent trying to improve their title.
Another change from last year is the way free-throws are shot, which is gauged by a sloppy-looking meter that runs along the top of the backboard. You must tap a face button to begin filling the meter, then hit it again when it fills to a gap indicated by a different color. How big the gap is depends on the players natural ability to sink a free-throw, and filling your meter to the proper colored area will allow him to sink it successfully. I found last years analog pull-back and push-forward free-throw mechanic to work very well, and I dont really see why EA felt they needed to change it. At the very least, they could have made a more visually appealing meter than the one theyve whipped up.
Off-court, stadiums are very well detailed and crowd animations are pretty decent, and spectators look three-dimensional yet move somewhat robotically. In all, anyone who has played an NBA Live game in the past couple of years wont be overly impressed with the slightly improved graphics. Player likenesses still have no consistency either. Some players look incredibly like their real-life counterpart, whereas other athletes only somewhat resemble who theyre supposed to look like. In the opening menus, the little practice gym has been given a tweak. The central hub not only allows you to shoot around and kill time before loading up a game, but now large screens show saved replays in the background. This simple and enjoyable touch is a welcome addition, and it is stuff like this EA should continue to work on in the coming years.
NBA Live 09 is definitely a step up from last year and a leap ahead from 07, but it definitely needs further improvements when it comes to how you actually play the game. Though EA is doing all they can to create a realistic basketball sim, there are far too many blatant errors in their formula that make it far from perfect. The inclusion of new online features may not be enough to make up for repetitively frustrating mechanics.
CCC Freelance Writer